Chapter 9 - Guilt

358 37 14

Guilt pulsed through every pore of his body. He told himself that he was drunk and didn't even remember it, but he remembered that dream. He must have just thought it was a dream, but it was real. Did he have sex with Whitney thinking that she was Ella? Was that cheating if he didn't even know? He wasn't even sure that he actually fucked her. He was so drunk, she would have been the one fucking him. Was that rape? He didn't even know he could get it up when he was that drunk. He was never drinking that vile stuff again.

His life was a disaster. He found himself praying that his mother would die. Then the guilt would hit him, but if she died and he never told Ella about his drunken night, since he had no proof he did anything, then he could go home and get on with his life. He had one other really big problem because Caleb was not keen on moving to Maine.

The tension in the house was high, he couldn't look Whitney in the eye and refused talk to her unless absolutely necessary. Meanwhile, Whitney acted like they were a couple. She kept talking about their wedding.

Caleb asked, "Are you marrying that bitch?"

"No, Ma wants me to, but I have a girlfriend. I really want to bring you back with me. We can get away from all of this." He waved his hand around their kitchen with old chipped paint cabinet door, worn Formica countertops and buckling linoleum on the floor. The avocado green appliances from Joe's childhood were gone only because they had broken beyond repair.

"Ma's dying and you want to take me away from my friends. I thought you knew teenagers. You must be a shitty teacher."

Joe didn't bother to defend himself, because he knew how much Caleb was hurting. "I know it sucks and I wish, Ma wasn't sick, but we have each other, we always have."

Joe thought about taking a quick trip home. He wanted to see Ella and he could use some more clothes including his suit for when the inevitable happened. The last time he wore his suit was for Nick and Sara's wedding. He shut his eyes and imagined El in his arms dancing. His mind wandered to the feel of her in his arms as they made love and felt a fist in his gut. He felt the sweat on his neck how could he face her. He didn't deserve her. He knew he never did, but he was fooled into believing he did. The next moment he reminded himself that he was crazy because she loved him. He knew in his heart that she meant it and he felt the same and more.

The hospice nurse visited and told Joe in a hushed tone that it would probably only be days. Her decline since he had returned was significant. Joe was relieved and felt guilty that his mother was dying too quickly to force him to marry a girl he didn't love. If Joe thought his life couldn't get worse he was wrong, on the second Monday that he should have been back at school, Whitney came out of the bathroom and said, "Congratulations Daddy!"

She was holding a little plastic stick.

This is the end of Part One. The first chapter of Part Two will be published on time tomorrow. Please don't miss it.

Unexpected Second ChanceWhere stories live. Discover now